Elfin Forest and Double Peak Ride Report-16 January 2016
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Tony O, Bob P, Farkas, Guido, Wulfgang, Bernie, Rick W, Jim Wilkinson, Andrew Weil, Sheehan, Ernst, Rob, Marci (after Double Peak), Garet (climbing Double Peak); Oleg, Len & John M (all three in RSF)
If you just look at the rider list above, it looks like we had a huge group out riding on Saturday. We did have 12 riders at the start, picked up some along the way and had numerous Descender sightings out on the ride. Guido, Bob P and I met at the top of Black Mountain Road to spin over to the meeting location. We enjoyed the brisk start to the day and saw the warm clouds sinking in the valleys as we rolled to Pomerado Road. The ride today was Elfin Forest and Double Peak. Jim W was now back riding with us again. He brought along Andrew, who has ridden with us a few times in the past. Our special guest rider was Wulfgang, the son of Len Lochmiller. Wulfgang has ridden with us 1-2 times a few years ago when he was 9-10 years old. He is now 13 years old and can ride with the front of the group. The group stayed together over the Lake Hodges bridge where we passed a large. strung-out, group of runners in the "early" portion of a 50 mile trail run! And some folks think the Descenders are crazy?
We hit Via Rancho Parkway and headed west, turned onto Bernardo Road and looped over to Harmony Grove. The new neighborhoods along Harmony Grove are getting more built up, forcing us to take the detour to get back to Elfin Forest. I hit the gas for a mile and pulled along Sheehan, Rick W, Jim and Andrew. The rest of the guys were farther back. I had to ease up and let those guys hammer it. I waited for the rest of the riders and hung onto the back until we started to climb up towards San Elijo Hills. I fell way behind and was finally passed by Farkas, who had stopped for a nature break just past the Questhaven Road turn. I struggled to get to the small town center of San Elijo Hills and turn to the climb towards Double Peak. I saw Sheehan coming up the side road from Questhaven, all the other riders were well off in the distance. I slowly pedaled on with Sheehan a bit behind me. I passed by the turn to Double Peak before realizing it and did a U-turn to meet Sheehan as we started the Double Peak climb. It was a slog, but we both made it to the top where the rest of the guys had been waiting.
Ernst and Sheehan were heading home via Escondido so they were going left after the Double Peak descent. Jim W had already left the group down in the town center as he was on a tight time schedule for home. The rest of us flew down the hill in rather cool temperatures. We saw Garet climbing up Double Peak and we picked up Marci as we hit the town center. Marci was out riding after only a month since she had a hip replaced-wow. She looked like she never stopped riding, strong as usual. The group flew to Rancho Sante Fe Road and started our loop back. We hung together to El Camino Del Norte where I feel way behind. I told Guido to keep riding and not wait for me at Lago Lindo. I trudged up the climb and regrouped with everyone at Mimulus, just before Stud Loop. Tony had turned back onto Del Dios to head for home. We were still 9 riders strong and heading for Three Witches.
At the next corner we spotted Oleg, his friend, Len and John M, all out for their own small Descenders group ride. We spun quickly along El Apajo to get to the bottom of the Three Witches climb. Again, I told Guido to just pedal on, I knew how to get home. That was the last I saw of the rest of the riders. They hammered up to CDS and split different ways towards home. I cruised back by Westview HS and limped home with 51 miles and 4,350 feet of climbing; short but painful! Photos in the link below.